On Thursday, the trailer for Jared Leto’s new Netflix offering The Outsider tumbled out into the world. The promo was a touch moody and decidedly violent, but it was the concept that had a lot of folks feeling queasy. In particular, the seemingly unshakeable trend of making a white guy the star of a film set in Asia with non-white actors playing support.
The Outsider (which was once lined up as a potential Tom Hardy and Takashi Miike joint) features Leto playing a World War II soldier that is indebted to the Yakuza following the war and joins the ranks of the crime syndicate to carry out their bidding and occasionally shoot a handful of his enemies. The film’s emergence has turned off a lot of people on Twitter for a number of reasons, although the main issue is with the film is making an American the focus of a crime film set in Japan. Leto’s Oscar-winning and heavily criticized Dallas Buyers Club performance hasn’t earned him much goodwill in the representation department either.
Writer-director Aaron Stewart-Ahn shared on Twitter that he had previously received the script for the film and the second page pretty much summed up the problem with these sorts of films.
“California Roll with Imitation Crab the Movie…” wrote Stewart-Ahn. “A white producer sent me this script years ago said it was genius, it made Blacklist. Page 2 actually mentions Caucasians having bigger penises, I swear.”
The Outsider will arrive on Netflix on March 9. Expect Twitter to be ready for analysis when the film drops.